By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 8/22/2017
Page Views: 1338
Here you'll find various essays on scientific topics.

Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.In an older and closely related meaning, "science" also refers to this body of knowledge itself, of the type that can be rationally explained and reliably applied. Ever since classical antiquity, science as a type of knowledge has been closely linked to philosophy. In the West during the early modern period the words "science" and "philosophy of nature" were sometimes used interchangeably, and until the 19th century natural philosophy (which is today called "natural science") was considered a branch of philosophy.

In modern usage "science" most often refers to a way of pursuing knowledge, not only the knowledge itself. In the 17th and 18th centuries scientists increasingly sought to formulate knowledge in terms of laws of nature. Over the course of the 19th century, the word "science" became increasingly associated with the scientific method itself, as a disciplined way to study the natural world, including physics, chemistry, geology and biology. It is in the 19th century also that the term scientist began to be applied to those who sought knowledge and understanding of nature.

In this section of my site, you'll be able to read various essays I've written on scientific topics, as well as about science and scientific method.


By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 6/10/2008
Topics: #Bridges Page Views: 1088
People aren't the only ones who make them, you know.

Humans are not the only creatures on Earth that build bridges, but we are the only ones who build bridges intended for more than a single use. Bridges have become so ubiquitous in human culture that, in addition to being used as metaphors ("We'll build a bridge of love and kindness reaching to the other side" as Olivia Newton-John sang in "The River's Too Wide") they have spawned unique fears (gephyrophobia, the fear of bridges), a genre of photography and of course an engineering specialty.

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Elections, 2014

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 10/15/2014
Topics: #Arizona #Chandler #Elections2014 Page Views: 1848
Blog Entry posted October 15, 2014, in which I reveal who I voted for in the early elections and why.

Well, it's that time of year again…time to vote in the state ("midterm") elections. As I did 4 years ago, I am pleased to announce I've done my homework and made my choices…and here's what I chose.

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Global Warning

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 4/24/2007
Topics: #Evolution #GlobalWarming #Pleistocene #Pliocene #Science Page Views: 1133
Let's examine the events that triggered the last set of ice ages during the Pleistocene epoch, and how they speak to today's climate change.

A little over 1½ million years ago, when the continents of Earth had drifted to almost their present locations and the very first hominids (our oldest recognizable ancestors) had appeared, a group of bright stars called the Scorpius-Centaurus OB association, passed within 150 light-years of Earth. Although the sky appears to be the same night after night (with the exception of the locations of the Moon and planets), astronomers know this is not so.

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Shine On Harvest Moon

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 10/11/2007
Topics: #Astronomy #History #Photography #Science Page Views: 2973
Blog Entry posted October 5, 2007

As you know, the Earth takes a little more than 365 days to circle the sun. We judge this by the stars. For example, at sunset on any particular day, the handle of the Big Dipper will be in a certain position. Six months later, at sunset, the handle of the Dipper will be in the opposite position. A year from that starting point, the handle will have returned to its original position.

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Old King Coal

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 1/6/2010
Topics: #Coal #Geology #Out-of-PlaceArtifacts Page Views: 879
Let's look at coal: Its formation, mining, uses, legends, and what odd artifacts have been found embedded in it.

When my kids were young and asked me what I was getting them for Christmas, I always replied, "A bag of coal." Of course, I never gave them coal for Christmas, or at any other time. And in fact, few modern Americans have even seen coal, though they think they have. That's because most people think charcoal is the same as coal; and everyone has seen charcoal briquettes at barbeques, right?

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Time and Tides

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 2/14/2017
Topics: #Moon #Science #Tides Page Views: 322
What really causes the tides, and no, it's not just the moon pulling on the water.

When I was a teenager in Saint Augustine, Florida, I worked summers as a lifeguard. My favorite Beach was Crescent Beach, between Saint Augustine Beach and Daytona. I liked it because I actually preferred a beach with hardly any people on it, and the people at Crescent Beach at that time were mostly folks who had rented condos or Cottages along the beach. Many of these people were not accustomed to the beach or the ocean, and since I was a lifeguard, they would ask me questions.

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How Long Can You Tread Water?

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 12/13/2007
Topics: #GlobalClimateChange Page Views: 2572
Blog Entry posted December 13, 2007

Biblically speaking, nothing seems to piss God off more than members of the faithful who refuse to heed prophecies.

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Tubes, Transistors, and Alien Technology

By: Paul S. Cilwa Posted: 10/14/2014
Topics: #Diodes #Science #Transistors #UFOs #VacuumTubes Page Views: 1806
Blog Entry posted October 14, 2014, in which I uncover the mystery of who invented the transistor?

When I joined the Navy back in the '70s, I was directed toward a "rating" (job) of Electronics Technician, which more or less describes the folks who repair radar and radio. Towards this end, I studied electronics at the Navy A School in Great Lakes, Illinois; and, as I did so I discovered a rather odd mystery that took me decades to figure out. To appreciate this mystery, and its solution, one must have a rudimentary understanding of electronics. And I can give you enough of that, right here, right now. I promise it won't hurt.

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